What is Mastiha?
Mastiha also known in English as "Mastic" and in Latin as "Pistacia lentiscus" is an ancient ingredient only grown in the southern part of the Island of Chios, Greece. It is a major contributor to the identity of Chios, as locals have used the resin that comes from this tree for more than 2,500 years! They call this ingredient, "The tears of Chios," based on the resin's teardrop shape.
How do you get Mastiha?
The Mastiha tree is a hardy, shrub-like evergreen tree that produces a resin when the bark is cut. There are families in Chios that grow and harvest mastiha for centuries, who live in, "Mastihoria," translated in english as "Mastic villages."
The method on which these families process mastiha is the same as it has been since ancient Greece. The men of the village will cut slits in the bark of the mastic tree. The teardrop shape of the resin falls from the trunk onto the ground covered in limestone. As the resin hardens the tears are collected and cleaned by the women of the village. They hand pick any debris or particles. These steps are done periodically throughout the year. If any rain wets the mastiha during the drying process it will completely ruin, making this wonderful ingredient vulnerable to issues we face like climate change.
Once the Mastiha is cleaned you can then chew the hard resin as a piece of gum, ground the resin to add to desserts and food, or use the essential oil processed by steam distillation.
Research and consumer demand is growing universally, because of its wide range of therapeutic benefits.
Therapeutic activity of Mastiha includes gastro-intestinal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer, and is beneficial for both oral hygiene and skincare.
9 Therapeutic Benefits of Mastiha:
1. Ulcer Healing: A double blind study showed 70% improvement in ulcer healing with mastiha and no side effects.
2. Antibiotic: Mastiha has an anti-biotic effect when facing H. Pylori.
3. Antibacterial: Properties when dealing with bacterial activity.
4. Gut Health: Exhibits beneficial properties in preventing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug induced gut injury.
5. Crohn's Disease: Regulates the inflammation caused by CD.
6. General Health: Reduces stomach pain & heartburn. Decreases cholesterol, protects the heart, liver and helps with IBS.
8. Oral Health: Chewing the gum for 15 minutes is the best way to get the therapeutic benefits like preventing bad breath, oral thrush, and gingivitis.
9. Skincare: Mastiha skincare is best for wound healing, decreasing irritation, anti-aging and rejuvenating effects.
10. Anti-diabetic: Reduces and shows improvements to glucose levels as lipid disturbances.
Is Mastiha Safe?
There are no contraindications of using mastiha and is considered generally safe. You can find this unique ingredient in Aromanthi's mastiha skincare product. The 3-in-1 daytime moisturizer acts as a facial toner, moisturizer and natural sunscreen. Think of it as Greece in a bottle!
Paraschos, S., Mitakou, S., & Skaltsounis, A. L. (2012). Chios gum mastic: A review of its biological activities. Current medicinal chemistry, 19(14), 2292–2302. https://doi.org/10.2174/092986712800229014
The statements made regarding this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. There's no guarantee of specific results and that the results can vary.